UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom calls on Israel to adhere to principles of proportionality in order to avoid civilian casualties during its attacks against Hamas in Gaza, UK Ambassador to the United Nations Barbara Woodward said on Thursday.
"Israel has a legitimate right to self-defense and a right to defend its citizens from attack," Woodward said during a General Assembly meeting addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "In doing so, it is vital that Israel makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We call on Israel to adhere to the principles of necessity and proportionality when defending its legitimate security interest."
Woodward said the United Kingdom urges the warring parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.
The United Kingdom is concerned about reports that the Palestinian Hamas movement is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for military operations, Woodward said.
She went on to say that London was also concerned about reports that medical facilities, schools and hundreds of homes in Gaza have been destroyed in damaged. In response to these reports, she added, the United Kingdom will provide about $4.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
The current episode of the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out last week after the civil unrest in East Jerusalem, prompting hostilities on the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian militants having launched approximately 3,700 rockets against Israel, which retaliates with airstrikes. The sides have been firing rockets at each other ever since, leaving 217 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead.